Grand Prix Circuit (Accolade) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

Grand Prix Circuit
By Accolade
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #64

Grand Prix Circuit

It's the ultimate circus. From March to November each year, the great Grand Prix show visits about twenty cities worldwide. Each city is host to an exhilarating battle of reactions, courage and nerve. There are always exultant winners, sad losers and bad accidents.

So many games have been written about motor racing that new ones are no longer seized on with glee. In short, a game following the same format as all the others would have to be something pretty special to get itself noticed.

Grand Prix Circuit from Accolade sets out to simulate the Drivers' Championship. There are ten drivers, of which you are one. Your first job is to select the car you wish to guide around the circuits. It's a tactical decision. You could opt for the Ferrari which, although not the fastest, sticks to the road like glue around the bends. The Williams is faster, but it'll slide around a bit at speed. And then there's the McLaren. This goes like a greased weasel. But close you eyes and hope whenever you encounter a slight curve in the circuit.

Grand Prix Circuit

There are five difficulty levels. The easiest level ensures that you won't spin off, even in the McLaren. The other drivers try to get out of your way, and you have an automatic gear-shift. In fact, things couldn't really be easier. Skill levels three and above force you to change gear yourself. How uncouth. The drivers are also progressively better, and the damage your car takes by sallying onto the verges is worse.

You can have just one race against other drivers (on the circuit of your choice), you can enter the championship, or just practise.

Every time you race against competitors, you must first drive a qualifying lap. This is theoretically intended to give you a grid position. However, it is incredibly difficult to end up in any position other than last. This is almost certainly an oversight by the programmers; the other cars' qualification times are just too fast. Another problem with the qualifying laps is that they are compulsory. It would be nice to be able to leap-frog them and get straight down to the competitive high-jinks. Even if this option were to automatically give you last place, it would be preferable to motoring round alone for a few minutes, knowing that you'll be in last place anyway!

Grand Prix Circuit

The races themselves can be any length you want. On Easy level it's possible to win stormingly in the MacLaren simply by driving on the grass past the pack in the first few seconds of the game. Thus each race can be only one lap long, and you'll have 160 points after eight races.

If you do win the championship, mind, you'll get nothing in the way of a prize or recognition. The game simply starts over again. This is seriously depressing for anyone who has struggled legitimately to reach this position.

The graphics, the most important part of a game like this, are not up to par. They show the road ahead, other cars and nice scenery, but they are far too slow. The digital speedo tells you you're doing 230mph, but it doesn't feel like any speed at all.

The other cars are drawn well. But you only ever see one or two, and those from rear view. Overtaking is a joke. If you head straight for a car the computer will often tell you that you've passed it successfully. But if you head for a gap your damage increases and your speed drops, indicating that you've hit someone!

It is these two factors which really let down Grand Prix Circuit. The fun should be in racing nine other cars around a fast and frantic course. However, the action is neither fast nor frantic, and the other cars only serve to annoy you with their illogical behaviour and the poor collision detection. Otherwise, it might even have been possible to live with the fact that you have to do a qualifying lap before every race and also the fact that you face the same buildings and scenery every race! Incidentally, there is one building which, no matter which corners you go round, is always in front of you... You get tired of seeing it after a while.

The sound is fine (especially if you like whining engine noises!), the car's responsiveness is OK, and there is some nice attention to detail, such as the corner-displayed map of the circuit with all the positions of the cars. It's just the playability that lets it down. And that means everything.

Second Opinion

Rather a disappointment, alas. I'm a huge Grand Prix fan, so I was expecting many hours of fun. Putting in the practice would be no problem if only the game was worth the long-term effort. As it is, it's just too slow.

First Day Target Score

Win the Championship on Easy level.


Graphics 62%
P. The 3D views work OK.
N. But the graphics are so slow.

Sonics 65%
P. Howling V12s is about all.

Grab Factor 67%
P. Not difficult to drive.

Staying Power 57%
N. You'll be cheesed off by always having to qualify, and by the antics of the other cars.

Overall 63%
N. Even Satoro Nakajima is faster than this! (Grand Prix joke!)

James Leach

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